The Seahawks have plans to bring in free agent tight end Jared Cook for a visit.
Having so far focused in free agency on the offensive line and running back, the Seahawks are now setting their sights on the tight end position, with plans to bring in Jared Cook for a visit. A league source confirmed what was first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
Seattle’s interest in Cook obviously carries with it a lot of potential implications. Luke Willson is also an unrestricted free agent and remains unsigned, with Seattle’s interest in Cook obviously indicating it is exploring ways to ensure veteran depth if Willson doesn’t return.
Maybe even more intriguing is that Jimmy Graham is entering the final year of his contract, due $10 million in 2017. Seahawks GM John Schneider said at the NFL Combine last week that there is no reason to question whether Graham will be part of the team in 2017 and coach Pete Carroll talked with great enthusiasm about what the Seahawks may be able to expect from Graham this year since he will have an off-season of conditioning without having to rehab a knee injury.
But Graham’s future beyond 2017 is obviously in question — if Seattle hands extensions to current players it would figure to look first to center Justin Britt or safety Kam Chancellor — and Cook could help give the Seahawks some insurance for the future, and maybe even an option for the present if a trade opportunity were to present itself for Graham.
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Cook, 29, played last season with Green Bay on a one-year deal worth $2.75 million.
The Packers had apparent interest in bringing Cook back before contract talks broke down late last week. Cook later took to Twitter to clarify that he did not turn down a contract while also offering a thank you to Green Bay fans.
The Packers then filled their tight end vacancy by signing Martellus Bennett — the brother of Seattle’s Michael Bennett — to a three-year deal worth up to $21 million.
Cook signed with Green Bay last year after having played three seasons with the Rams, with whom he had signed a five-year, $35.1 million deal prior to the 2013 season before being released following the 2015 season. He began his career with four years with Tennessee.
Cook had 30 catches for 377 yards last season in 10 games for Green Bay, then turned in one of the biggest catches of the season in the playoffs, a 36-yard catch along the sidelines that set up a game-winning field goal in a divisional playoff win at Dallas.
Willson became an unrestricted free agent on Thursday after playing out his four-year rookie contract, catching 74 passes for 976 yards in 56 games with Seattle. To date there have been no reports of Willson making visits to other teams.
Besides Graham, Seattle also has second-year player Nick Vannett at tight end. A third-round pick last season, Vannett caught three passes for 32 yards in nine games.
Carroll, though, said at the Combine last week the team expects a big leap in Vannett’s production from year one to year two, saying “we are really excited about him coming back” and saying he will be “a big factor” going forward.
Seattle’s usual No. 3 tight end last season, Brandon Williams, is also an unrestricted free agent.
One appeal of Cook is that he has been fairly durable, having played 16 games in five of eight seasons and 13 or more in two others (an ankle injury contributed to playing just 10 last year).
Cook also has a reputation as a decent blocker, with Pro Football Focus last year calling his blocking “underrated” and noting he was the 11th- and 13th-best run-blocking tight end in 2014 and 2015, respectively.